Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sask. civil servants get pay hikes

CBC News - Saskatchewan - Sask. civil servants get pay hikes

It should be just that easy. Negotiate, contract, done.

Apparently, it IS that easy when you are a non-unionized, out of scope employee of the provincial government.

Now granted, there ARE some reasons to negotiate different areas of a contract that clearly aren't working anymore, I question whether this isn't how it should be with the unionized portion of the civil service as well, not to mention all unionized workplaces.

You can't tell me that a union member is so hard done by that they need that extra 1% on their salary that they have to strike for it (1% generally being about 3 days of work for the whole year).

The fact of the matter is that if the union goes on strike, they have already lost for their members in real dollars what they will gain by a settlement. The only people that win in a strike are the unions themselves who will see additional union dues from their members, and higher esteem from the members as they "stick it to management".

But that isn't how the relationship should be anymore. We're no longer in an age where labour mobility isn't an option, nor are we in an age where the "big bad faceless corporation" seeks only to exploit its workers. This is especially true in the public sector where the "corporation" is the government itself.

What it comes down to is that there should BE no more negotiations on wages, but before you get your shirt in a knot, hear me out. There should be no more wage or benefit negotiations because most union shops already have a pay structure setting up automatic increases based on experience. The only thing being negotiated in the contract are the standard increases to each pay level. So here's the thing, why should those even be negotiated at all?

Realistically, that increase can be automated in such a way that it never has to be negotiated again. There are tons of economists who forecast growth rates, forecast the consumer price index, forecast inflation. There are also tons of economists that then calculate that stuff after the fact in order to help the other guys make new predictions for the coming year. So why isn't an annual increase factored into all contracts based on a standard measured CPI with a retro payment if the CPI is higher for the year than estimated.

Do that and the only real thing to negotiate between management and unions would be health and safety issues and any workplace problems that have arisen over the past period of time. The relationship between corporation and union becomes cooperative rather than caustic and everybody involved become much happier.

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